“I once had a dream. I dreamt that I, even though a man, was pregnant, pregnant and full with Nothingness like a woman who is with child. And that out of this Nothingness God was born.” – Meister Eckhart
A group of grandmothers are using what they call ‘friendship benches’ to help thousands of people suffering from mental health problems in the country
Zimbabwe’s public health system, like other sectors, has been hit by a financial crisis.
With a population of around 16 million, doctors say there are only 12 public health psychiatrists in the whole country.
Now, a group of grandmothers are using what they call “friendship benches” to help thousands of people suffering from mental health problems in the country.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa reports from Harare.
Redeeming Good Friday for Survivors
Every Good Friday, Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, holds a worship service dedicated to the seven last words of Christ. Taking readings from each Gospel, worshippers meditate on Jesus’ forgiveness of his murderers, his pardon of criminals, his final instructions to his disciples, his doubt, his thirst, his acceptance, and finally, his submission to God as he dies.
It is his last utterance — “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit” — that shapes much of our theology of sacrifice, and our Christian call to obedience as faithful submission to God. But as a young Texas seminary student newly grappling with my history of childhood sexual violence, those were not the Good Friday words from Christ that my shattered heart ached to hear. [ . . . ] Read Full Story at Sojourners
Territorio de Zaguates is dedicated to the rescue of abandoned dogs. The organization shelters, neuters and works to find loving homes for them. More than 750 dogs rescued from the streets of Costa Rica roam free in the mountains of Costa Rica, frolicking in the “Land of the Strays” — a pooch paradise. Around 8,000 dogs have passed through the refuge.
In today’s society both young and old increasingly find themselves living in a bubble of like-minded and similar-aged peers. This is especially true of university students who leave home at 18 to live with people of the same age – who have quite often had similar life experiences.
Given this, the report that a Dutch nursing home has established a programme providing free rent to university students in exchange for 30 hours a month of their time “acting as neighbours” with their aged residents is unusual.
The programme has seen students in their early twenties sharing lives with residents in their eighties and nineties. As part of their volunteer agreement, the students also spend time teaching residents new skills – like how to email, use social media, Skype, and even graffiti art.
The incentive behind Humanitas Deventer’s “exchange” programme is the research basethat shows that reducing loneliness and social isolation improves well-being and extends life expectancy in the elderly.
And though research on the impact on students seems yet to be explored, from my own experience of running a similar project at the University of Exeter, I know that it is overwhelmingly positive – giving young people a sense of connection with older generations, and significantly increasing the likelihood that they will continue to volunteer after university.
Since 2011 student volunteers from the university’s Department of English and Film donate their time to bring conversation, literature, and friendship to the residents of over ten residential care homes across the city. And since the project’s inception it is estimated that around 250 active volunteers have reached over 500 elderly residents – at least half of whom have dementia.
Reading between the lines
The Care Homes Reading Project draws upon the natural skill set of its target volunteer community – which includes a love of reading and an understanding of the power of literature to impact lives positively [ . . . ] Read Fully Story at World Economic Forum
Mgr Luc Crépy, évêque du Puy, président de la cellule permanente de lutte contre la pédophilie (CPLP) de la Conférence des évêques de France, explique le sens de la journée de prière et de jeûne qu’observeront, lundi 7 novembre, l’ensemble des évêques de France réunis à Lourdes pour leur Assemblée plénière.
In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive. Violence plagues some corners of the world, and too many still live under the grip of tyrannical regimes. And although all the world’s major faiths teach love, compassion and tolerance, unthinkable violence is being perpetrated in the name of religion.
And yet, fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. In many countries, recognition of women’s and minority rights is now the norm. There is still much work to do, of course, but there is hope and there is progress.
How strange, then, to see such anger and great discontent in some of the world’s richest nations. In the United States, Britain and across the European Continent, people are convulsed with political frustration and anxiety about the future. Refugees and migrants clamor for the chance to live in these safe, prosperous countries, but those who already live in those promised lands report great uneasiness about their own futures that seems to border on hopelessness.
A small hint comes from interesting research about how people thrive. In one shocking experiment, researchers found that senior citizens who didn’t feel useful to others were nearly three times as likely to die prematurely as those who did feel useful. This speaks to a broader human truth: We all need to be needed.
READ FULL STORY
Cait Dohmeier clutches the silver medal that dangles from her neck, moving her thumb along its raised surface to outline the face of St. Dymphna. She uses the token, a souvenir she bought in 2007 from a street vendor in Paris, to help her through bouts of anxiety.Today, like most days Dohmeier calls on her, St. Dymphna intercedes and a calm comes over her.Dohmeier, 26, a store clerk who lives on the Southside of Chicago, said she chose Dymphna, the patron saint of mental health, as her confirmation saint in 2005. She has since called upon her to relieve her panic attacks that stem from family issues.
READ FULL STORY at Source: Stories, traditions keep devotions to the saints alive | National Catholic Reporter
Families struggle to find a safe, therapeutic place for loved ones with serious mental disorders. In Geel, Belgium, residents have brought mentally ill strangers into their homes for centuries.
READ FULL STORY at Source: A Community Takes On Caring For Strangers With Mental Illness : Shots – Health News : NPR
Saint Dymphna (also: Dympna, Dimpna) was the daughter of a pagan Irish king and his Christian wife in the 7th century AD. She was murdered by her father.
St. Dymphna is the patron saint of the nervous, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, and victims of incest